Thursday, January 30, 2014

22) Village

I would highly recommend this game. It initially sucked me in with the innovative mechanic of removing resources to take actions, opposed to most games that require you to place a worker to do an action. Initially, game play and general strategy is not very intuitive, but once you get all the rules then it becomes a fun challenge to optimize your moves and try and balance multiple goals. I always find I want to do 2-3 different things on any given turn and that immediately makes a game fun and interesting for me.

Turn 2 generation 2 worker on this spot = red wins

Just starting to get going

End game board for 3-player game
The above picture showing the worker in the council chamber is the one thing that feels a bit unbalanced about this game. With new players I try and explain the value of this spot, unfortunately if someone pursues this spot uncontested they often jump out to a huge lead. This should become more balanced with experienced players. Also, I think the expansion does a good job of balancing the value of this spot. Overall I really love this game and even though there is a initial steep learning curve, if you stick it out you'll be rewarded with a fun game.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

21) Munchkin

I have mixed thoughts on this game, but first the good. Games where over time you're accumulating gear and weapons and abilities are always fun and this is no exception. On top of that the flavor for all the stuff you acquire is crazy ridiculous and quite funny. An argument could be made to buy this game on flavor alone.

I'm already cheating on the first turn

orange wins

pack it up until next year
Unfortunately this game is getting a thumbs down from me for two really big reasons. 1) There seemed to be so much down time between the end of my turn and the start of my next turn. Yes, you are able to interact with other players on their turn, but I often found I was waiting with very little to do for longer than was enjoyable for it to be my turn again. This is probably largely due to players receiving a lot of information (cards) near the end of their turn that they need to sort through before the next players turn. and 2) The winner of the game is based largely on luck as opposed to how well you've played over the entire game. Eventually we all reached 8-9 points and it turned into a game of blocking each other from winning. Once we all ran out of block cards the next player was able to win.

20) Pick a Pig

This is the advanced version of the game Set. You lay out a grid of 30 cards where everyone can reach them. Then each player plays their randomly drawn start card face up and madness ensues. The goal is to frantically grab pigs from the center that have only one difference (suglasses, size, color, etc..) from the previous pig you played. Whomever is able to acquire the most pigs over three rounds wins.

This chain is unbelievably long for my skill level

2 players in a 5 player game

just chillin
Despite my lack of skill in games like this I have found myself playing this on multiple occasions and enjoying it every time. This is a fun filler game and if you find you enjoy games like Set, Mondo, or Galaxy Trucker then you'll probably enjoy this based solely on its mechanics.

19) Polterfass

This game is interesting in that most press-your-luck games are limited to one person taking chances while everyone else watches, but this game manages to have everyone taking chances and hedging their bets on every turn.

high roller

Yes, the game comes with coasters

who likes math
I'm glad I got to play this game once, but I'm equally happy to not have to play this game again. In my opinion this is advanced farkel with a couple twists that add a limited amount of strategy. There was also a daunting amount of score keeping to the point that I would almost say it slowed the game down. Despite the lack of enthusiasm for this game I must say that the barrel 'dice' are ingenious.

18) Coup

This is a quick and easy filler game. We played about 4 times in a row. It was fun, but I'm horrible at bluffing games and this was no different. The good thing about this game is that after each of my losses I thought 'I can do better next time'. I never did do all that much better, but you just wait till next time...

box with unused expansion cards

killed off again


Monday, January 27, 2014

17) Sushi Go!

This game is great fun. It's quick to learn and super easy to play. It's a great way to introduce people to the drafting mechanic. And the cards are so fun with all those smiling sushi! Two thumbs up for this game.

Cards are so cute
part of a 5 player game

Squid = 9 points, Yum!

Winning score card

16) Hanabi

It was interesting playing a cooperative game where you're not really allowed to talk to each other. Of course that did add to the stress level each turn as you can't receive advice from the other players and thus its up to you on your turn to find the optimal move. A quick overview of the game: each person has four cards that they cannot see, but which everyone else can see. On your turn you can tell another player information about their cards, attempt to play one of your cards, or permanently discard one of your cards. There are a few more details that limit your ability to do the above actions, making for a great dilemma of trying to optimize your turn with limited information.

Just starting

Goal of the game is build runs in each color (up to 5)

Unique perspective on a unique game
We all enjoyed this game enough to play it twice. It is so different from any game I've played before, which made for a new and fun experience. The second time through we were able to convey more information then the game may have intended on any given turn and I imagine repeated playing with the same people could amplify this. Despite this I would highly recommend this game.

15) Zeppeldrome

Currently this game is not available for purchase although you can search for them on kickstarter and pre-order your copy. I was lucky enough to play a sneak peak of this game at a Sasquatch game festival. My initial reaction is that this is a mash-up of Salmon Run and Roborally, but, for me at least, this game does a better job of implementing the core mechanics of these games. In short this is a racing game where you're playing a route, using actions to modify your route or other players routes, and then executing the result. Of course the board is also presenting hazards that you need to work around.

Blurry picture of the box

Green wins

All the game components

Beware the falling lemmings
This is generally a style of game that I'm less interested in, but the game play is so elegant and smooth that I would highly recommend this game. It's really easy to pick up and has a lot of player interaction. There's also fun flavor to the cards and a good theme as a whole.

14) Trans Europa

This is a quick, easy, light game that everyone seems to enjoy. It's a great filler if you only have 15 minutes to play. There is some strategic thinking, but I think a lot of the strategy comes in figuring out where people are going and capitalizing on having others build routes towards the cities you need to complete.

Shuffle them up

A few turns into a game

So close you may as well be on that train

City requires for one round

When in doubt play with the pieces

13) Citadels

This game is a double edged sword. It always sucks you in because there are such good mechanics, but then makes you stay well past your welcome in games that last for-ev-er. Just looked up the estimated play time and was surprised that its 90 minutes. Thankfully the game I played here was much shorter, probably due to there being only 4 players, all of whom knew how to play (or picked it up very quickly) and the fact that the warlord was rarely used successfully.

Just getting going

4 player game

My final buildings...not enough to win
I really enjoy selecting a new role each round with special abilities and I enjoy trying to figure out which roles other people will take to maximize the use of the attack cards. On the other hand, 3 of the 8 cards in the base game are attack cards, which can really slow the pace of the game. Overall there isn't enough game here to warrant the 90 minute play time and thats why I'm usually wary of playing this one.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

12) The Castles of Burgundy

Yay, finally get to play this game I got for Christmas. As this was everyones first game we all used the starter boards, but I'm excited to try out the other board choices. I love games where you're building up your own 'city' and there was so much of that, as well as a constant scoring of points, which really makes it feel like you're doing a lot. The mechanics and game play are so simple, yet there's so much to think about and plan for on each turn. And saving one of the highest complements I can give for last: This is a dice game that I really like.

Just getting going

Third of the way through the game

Everything for a 4 player game.

Who needs to be first player...not black

End game board

And black wins...

...because of 40 points in sheep

This game is great fun and I can't wait to play it again soon.

11) Blokus

This game is great because it takes seconds to explain the rules and it offers great strategy and geometric planning. After a little while you start to see the board differently; and the diagonal avenues through other colors start to stand out. As the game progresses it becomes a great balancing act of trying to defend open spaces and trying to move into other players areas.

A few pieces waiting to fit on the board

Early game = get rid of the pieces I like the least

Mid game = spread out as much as possible

End game = hope people don't blokus you

All around this is a great game that anyone can pick up almost immediately and have a good time with.

Monday, January 13, 2014

10) Caverna

Caverna: The game that took everything I didn't like about Agricola out and left everything I did like in. I can now be a happy farmer and not a confused farmer.

So many good things
And yes, on the far left there are 48 unique buildings just waiting to be built.

Animeeples, Wheatmeeples, Gourdmeeples, Treebranchmeeples
And yes, they are as cool as they look.

My end of game board
There's so much to this game, but after having suffered through a couple games of Agricola, this wasn't that hard to pick up and almost felt intuitive. This was a learning game for us and now that I have a better idea of what the buildings are and how the game flows (you have to feed your people almost every turn!) I'm excited to give it a second and third and

9) Firefly (The Game)

I suppose with a 2 hour (*cough* 5 hour *cough*) game you're bound to have lots of pictures. This game had so many good aspects to it and one really really horrible game functionality.
Ready to start

Picking up guns at Silverhold

This money is too awesome to spend.

3 hours later I was the first to accomplish a goal
Was it Harken's Folly or our own folly for choosing this objective?

Oh behave
These misbehave cards basically ruined the game for us as a whole. One player had multiple rounds of watching other players almost breeze through these cards as he slowly lost everything over the course of three failed attempts to complete a mission requiring these cards. This occurred about a third of the way through the game and his game was basically over after that. Not only did these cards ruin the game for one player, but they also determined the winner of the game. The player in the lead was two turns ahead of everyone else, but, based on the un-luck of the draw was stymied until another player was able to catch up and win. I think any game where one player can draw cards that say "you fail this turn regardless of your prior preparation" and another player comes along draws cards that say "you pass without having to meet any requirements" will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

It all fits...barely.
Despite all of that we were still willing to give this game another shot. There was just too many things that we enjoyed: hiring crew, buying and equipping weapons and abilities to your crew, the random dinosaur 'active player' token (I know, I know, its thematic), going on missions and delivering goods. And having all of that fit so so perfectly into the flavor of the show/movie was just perfect. So the next time around we'll choose an objective that doesn't require those misbehave cards and we'll do everything in our power to avoid them.